We like to talk about a comeback. But when we talk about a comeback, can we talk about it more than once?
Vinyl seems to have the outsider spirit that keeps coming back.
This surprised us before, when the nostalgia factor became trendy. But I don’t think we saw it coming. Vinyl takes on new life, perhaps revealing itself as something that can take many lives yet.
It was one of those unexpected parts of the coronavirus pandemic. That people are more interested in vinyl. That musicians couldn’t make money from touring, so they had to make money from vinyl. Then there was a supply chain shortage for vinyl.
Vinyl Me, Please, a Denver-based club of the month, felt the impact. Their digital-only business model was successful and secure, so they never considered going old school and opening a brick-and-mortar pressing plant.
“That wasn’t part of the plan,” Adam Block, CFO of Vinyl Me, Please said. “It was in direct response to some of the supply chain challenges caused by COVID.”
Unsurprisingly, vinyl pressing plants are rare these days. Those who know the industry, like Block, say there are less than a dozen big players in the game who have the capacity to produce the records we see in stores.
Block also talks about the Adele effect, how his latest album “single-handedly broke the vinyl supply chain,” as NPR put it.
“The rumor was that every pressing plant in the country was pressing this album,” he said. “And it was more work than they could handle.”
So Vinyl Me, Please took a chance. They decided to open a 14,000 square foot vinyl pressing plant in Denver, across from Mission Ballroom. It is set to open this year as an “audiophile’s paradise”, Block said, with guided tours and a bar and cafe.
“It was one of those things that the more we researched, the better the idea,” he said.
They do not hesitate to say that it is a risky and expensive idea. They’re quick to say they could have done this anywhere else, but they wanted to add to the burgeoning “music center” of that corner. They are not shy about their goals.
“We’re trying to make the best record ever,” Block said.
So stay tuned. Maybe, just maybe, the best is yet to come for vinyl.